Auto Students Dismantle
Their hands were greasy and their arms aching, but the clock was still ticking. Dozens of dismantled parts lay strewn across adjacent stalls, but several men still huddled around the front grill and fenders, within the now-empty engine compartment and curled under the interior dash of identical, opposing green Buick LeSabres.
It was the stubborn ventilation unit and intertwined wiring that was finally the last to be yanked from the gutted, hollow shells of cars that two teams of college automotive students descended upon just 151 minutes earlier.
At exactly 11:01 a.m. last Thursday, Minnesota West Community & Technical College instructors Doug Kleeberger and Mark Temple gave a certifying look over the work and declared the second-year Jackson campus students victorious over their first-year counterparts.
“It was exhausting,” said Joseph Rakowsk.“… We should do it more often. It was an experience I’ll keep for life.” That mixture of fatigue and fascination was shared by many others too.
“Now I know how it feels to work in a chop shop,” said Wes Matt. “It was a good time. It’s not often you get this many guys piled into something.”
Only once a year, Kleeberger said. This year’s teardown race was about the fourth in a row. “It gets better, bigger and more organized every year,” he said. “It adds a lot of electricity in the air, you can just feel it.”
The students’ task was to safely and correctly remove every nut, bolt and component from the donated car bodies, starting with the batteries and gas tanks, without torching, grinding or cutting wires unless expressly permitted by the instructors.
In addition, parts such as the alternator, starter, air conditioning compressor, power steering pump, engine, transmission, radiator and more were to be tagged and saved.
“The life of it’s not over; it’s just going to look different,” Kleeberger said.
In the end, not much separated the racers. “It was very, very close — just some dash stuff. I’d say 10 minutes was all” that separated the two teams, he added. “It was definitely a race. There was just excellent effort all the way around.”
“We gave them a run for their money and we had them sweating for a while,” said first-year team member Gary Grabill. “It was definitely an experience.” “It was very intense,” noted teammate Paul Martinez.
And the second-year team acknowledged the narrow margin of victory.
“Congratulations to the first year team for keeping up with us,” said George Mobley. “They rose to the challenge.” All two-and-a-half hours of it.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Jacob Nolte. “It’s nice to know how quick you can actually do something like that.”
Winning team members included Cory Debates, Wes Matt, George Mobley, Jacob Nolte, Joseph Rakowski, Luke Reynolds, Michael Rider, Jeffrey Smith Jr., Andrew Staebler, Billy Syphokham, Stephen Tisi, Kodie VanVoorst and Garrett Walterman.
First-year students were Brandon Dalen, Brandon Edwards, Brandon Frederick, Gary Grabill, Timothy Harris, Craig Hoefker, Alan Hunt, Pablo Martinez, Seth Moller, Minh Nguyen, Chrispas Omwega, Leonardo Ortega, Matthew Peterson and Daniel Timmerman.
Courtesty of Ryan Brinks, Jackson County Pilot.